Five Tips for Optimal Health

Team-Up-2-Bike-Low-ResToday we welcome to the ranks of Ultra168, Ryan Bourke, from the Melbourne Osteopathy Centre. Ryan is a keen tri-athlete (we’re equal opportunities here at Ultra168!) and approached us about placing some focus on keeping a healthy body. We said why not? While we tend to focus quite a lot on the physical nature of training for our races, we can often neglect the other side of our ‘training’, that is keeping ourselves in good health through diet and other forms of training e.g. strength to keep us in shape.

To that end, Ryan has provided us with a short, but very concise articulation of five top tips to ensure you keep that body of yours in tip-top shape. Take it away Ryan…

1. Acquire Good Gut Health

Having a balance of good bacteria in your gut is essential for a strong immune system and overall well-being. A healthy gut will aid digestion, promote nutrient uptake, regular bowel movements and weight loss. Eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yoghurt and Kombucha will assist in the maintenance of the natural balance of microorganisms (microflora) in the intestines. Another great product is Apple Cider Vinegar (

2. Include good fats in your diet

Good fats play an integral role in our diets as they are nutrient dense and can actually assist with weight loss. High carbohydrate and sugary diets which claim to be ‘fat free’ are causing obesity throughout the world due to the unused glucose being stored as fat. Aim to eat good fats such as nuts, oily fish, olives and coconut oil and avoid simple sugars, colours and flavourings found in processed foods such as margarines, canola oils, white breads and canned fruits etc.

3. Combine Aerobic and strength training

It is important to complete both aerobic (steady exercise lasting greater than 30mins) and anaerobic (lasting up to 2 minutes and then repeated) exercise. Completing and combining both types will complement one another and ensure you increase lean muscle, burn fat and strengthen your cardiovascular system. Additional benefits include stress and anxiety reduction, increased immunity, decrease cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce the effects of ageing. Swimming, cycling, paddling and running are all fantastic aerobic exercises whilst gym workouts, circuit classes, Pilates and/or crossfit are all good examples of strength training which can be either aerobic or anaerobic exercise.

4. Laugh Everyday

Laughter is something that has a broad list of health benefits but most importantly it releases endorphins which are the bodies ‘feel good’ chemicals. This will relieve stress and tension and leave you feeling relaxed and happy. Surrounding yourself with funny and uplifting individuals can have a profound effect on your mood especially when you are feeling depressed or stressed. When feeling like this, think of an individual whom you know makes you smile and laugh and seek their company.

5. Have Indulgence or Relaxed days

Whether you are training for a race or event, dieting to lose weight or just improve your overall health and fitness; I believe indulgence and/or recovery days (once per week/fortnight) are important to rejuvenate both the body and mind. These days should refresh your motivations and encourage you to continue your health and fitness goals. This may be eating some ‘not so healthy foods’, taking a day off training or heading out for some drinks with friends. Allowing yourself to relax and ‘let your hair down’ may be just what you need to keep on track. Be wary not to binge too hard on these days and allow old habits to continue post this day.

Ryan Bourke (Professional Triathlon Coach | Tri Alliance)


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I'm a mediocre runner who can bat above his average when I train hard. A man of extremes, I do enjoy everything life offers and consider it an absolute pleasure just to be able to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander somewhere different.

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